Echidna Media Organization project S.N.A.L. (emo_snal) wrote,
Echidna Media Organization project S.N.A.L.
emo_snal

Fiddle-dee-dee! A Gone With the Wind Review

   I might pump out several entries this morning since I have several different topics I fancy writing about and a free morning while it rains outside, which is pleasantly conducive to writing.


   So I just finally read Gone With The Wind. I had just finished reading Half A Golden Sun about the Nigerian civil war in the 60s, which is told from the perspective of people on the losing side of the war and it had gotten me thinking I ought to read that American classic about being on the losing side of the civil war. I thought Half a Golden Sun was great by the way and recommend it. Also I had recently written a piece I wish I could get published about traveling in Tigray and the lovely people I met there, the losing side in the recent Ethiopian civil war, so I had this theme of being on the losing side of civl wars much on my mind.

   Anyway so I finished Gone With the Wind and.... boy was that racist. I expected the characters to be racist because of the time it takes place, and the author to be a bit racist because it was written in the 1930s, but yikes. All the black characters just want to serve and be taken care of by their kind kind white masters and ... I don't even want to recount all of the racist stuff because it's disgusting to recount. But just like, the author (NOT a character but the author in the omniscient narrator's voice) tells us that after the civil war black people turned free didn't know how to take care of their own children and abandoned them to starve unless kindly white people took them in. Like, seriously? Or like when the auther breezily mentions second-main-character Rhett shoots a black person who was impertinent to him or something minor like that, and acts like we should agree he shouldn't be held accountable for it as those damn yankees are seeking to do.
   So this kind of made me want to hate the book, that plus the main character starts out very dislikable and remains so. For much of the book I was trying to decide if the author thought the character of Scarlett was actually likeable or knew she was an unlikeable character, but gradually towards the end I began to conclude the author must know she is largely dislikeable and I began to have some admiration for an author who could write a whole book (a very long book!) about an unlikeable character. It was weird, I read it almost entirely rooting _against_ the main character and hoping her disagreeable ways would bring her misfortune. One theme I identified though, fitting for a book about the civil war, is that even when bad things happen to characters you don't like, in their own mind they are never defeated, and ultimately it is useless to wish them misfortune because of the fact that they'll never see themselves as defeated.
   I think another redeeming quality of the book was that it did seem to have a coherent feminist message about how a very capable woman was constrained by the society of the day.
   On a very minor note it kind of annoyed me that they refer to "Captain" Rhett Butler as "Captain Butler" throughout, despite that his own maritime experience seemed to be a few months of blockade running during the war, which it doesn't go into the details of but as he had zero maritime background prior to that he presumably was involved in as the owner but not the seamanship expert aboard and as an avid sailor and consumer of books about sailing adventures, I strongly feel he does not appear to have earned the title of "captain" at all.

   Anyway, I think it was a worthwhile book for its interesting themes and bold decision to make a dislikeable character the main character, but, and I'm normally totally against censorship, but I rather feel like someone should go through and eliminate all the blatantly racist garbage the author included (not the racism inherent in the people and society of the time but the steaming shit the narrator tells us) and release an official updated version that won't poison the minds of impressionable readers who might already be inclined towards racism and gobble that shit up / it's distractingly appalling for anyone.

Tags: book reviews, media reviews
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